In the news!
Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) on the International Space Station (ISS), recently detected a single blue 'jet' in space. A thunderstorm cell is emitted with upward-shooting lightning, as well as four elf-like emissions specifically, optical and ultraviolet emissions from the bottom of the ionosphere.
Did you know?
Rarely can a blue jet be seen because they are generally not visible from the ground and are usually hidden by clouds because they are brief and short-lived.
In 2019, instruments aboard the ISS recorded five blue flashes and a blue jet that shot into space from a storm cloud near the island of Nauru in the Pacific Ocean.
It was recorded that each of the flashes lasted between 10 and 20 milliseconds. The jet crossed almost 32 miles above sea level.
What causes Blue Jets?
Positively charged upper parts of a cloud interact with negatively charged layers above it, resulting in a bright blue discharge of static electricity called blue lightning. According to the researchers, the blue flashes that were seen over Nauru were accompanied by UV light flashes known as ELVES which were seen alongside the blue jet.
Neubert noted, “Lightning is formed by discharges between oppositely charged regions of a cloud or between a cloud and the ground many kilometres apart. However, turbulent mixing in a cloud may lead to oppositely charged regions contacting each other at a distance of about a kilometre, generating short, intense electrical current bursts."
This understanding is important since events such as Blue Jet Lightning could affect the theories that govern how radio waves travel through the air, which can have an impact on communication technologies.